40 BEFORE 40: COLOR ME GOOD

14. Complete a coloring book. When was the last time I completed a coloring book by myself? Probably before I was 10 years old — just a guess.

Coloring book ready. Crayons ready. I’m ready to COLOR!

HELLO KITTY!

HELLO KITTY!

One of my most vivid memories of coloring was when a group of neighborhood kids held a coloring contest. I must have been 6 or 7 years old at the time, and I thought I was a fabulous colorist. The older neighborhood kids didn’t agree and graded what I had thought was one of my best coloring pages a C- or a D+. I was devastated, cried, and refused further participation.

KITTY AND HEARTS

KITTY AND HEARTS AND FLOWERS

Before I withdrew from the contest, I had demanded the judges explain the poor rating system. What I had thought was a masterpiece was actually a huge mess. My coloring strokes and lines were choppy and disorganized despite my best intentions to color within the lines. The older kids’ critiques were right — my coloring was sloppy and messy.

I have no idea why I kept that precious gem in my memory bank. But from that moment on, I became fully aware of my coloring techniques and tried to keep all my crayons sharp.

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